Not inconsistent with this equality, God has ordained the existence of officers in the church, some of whom are charged under Christ with the leadership of the church.
The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.
But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction.
Remember those who led you, who spoke the Word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.
Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
Under Christ and his Word, the decisive court of appeal in the local church in deciding matters of disagreement is the gathered church assembly. (This is implied, first, in the fact that the leaders are not to lead by coercion, but by persuasion and free consent [1 Peter 5:3], second, in the fact that elders may be censured [1 Timothy 5:19], and third, in the fact that Matthew 18:15-20 and 1 Corinthians 5:4 depict the gathered church assembly as the decisive court of appeal in matters of discipline).
Therefore, I exhort the elders among you. . . shepherd the flock of God among you. . . not as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.
Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses. Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning.
If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, [you are to] deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
The local congregation therefore should call and dismiss its own leaders (implied in the preceding principle).
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